Books on Tape – Short Reviews

Books on Tape

I finished “The Diamond Age” by Neal Stephenson. The ending was not as good as I would have liked. Stephenson ended it, but it was not satisfying. It sort-of reached a point where the book was long enough so he just shut down the plots. I bought Stephenson’s Snow Crash on eBay. We’ll see how that goes.

My personal belief is that Nanotechnology, as Stephenson describes it, will not take off for the simple reason that it is easier to engineer microbes to do all of the things that nanites did on “The Diamond Age”. I have included bioengineered coral that can grow into nearly anything in one of my recent unfinished stories. I have used bioengineered living vehicles in three of my space stories to great effect.

I finished listening to The Galactic Pot Healer by P. K. Dick. Ward gave it to me for Christmas. This was written in 1969 towards the end of Dick’s career. He was very Schizophrenic at this time and self medicating with LSD and speed. The book seems like it was written in a two week period without any forethought or editing. Great P. K. Dick stuff, like the games he played, but interesting only as a part of his vision as a whole. It does not stand up as a good novel outside of Dick’s grand landscapes of realities. It has a great last line, though.

I am listening to Heinlein’s Friday, now. Friday is from the period after Heinlein’s Medical problems and not one of my favorites. Erica gave it to me for Christmas. There are two distinct Heinleins. Those before “I will fear no Evil” and those afterwards. I much prefer the early Heinlein and I am big fan of his juveniles. (I have pre-ordered “Citizen of the Galaxy” on tape.)

Friday is the story of a woman told in first person. I didn’t like it when he did this in Podkayne of Mars or The Menace from Earth and I don’t like it with Friday. The reader is male, affecting a female voice, which makes it even weirder. Heinlein comes off like an old transvestite who thinks that he’s pretty. Heinlein had a strange view of women or Virginia Heinlein wrote much of this and did not self-edit very well. Some of it is clearly Heinlein’s inner voice, but most of it is silly.

On the other hand, the book is a discussion of prejudice and Heinlein seems very sincere about condemning the evils of racial hatred. By bringing in SF elements, he is able to generalize his feelings without discussing contemporary issues, and yet his arguments apply well to contemporary prejudice. I own an abridged version of Friday read by Sarah Westdale and it is much better. The book really needs editing (as do all of his later works.)

Coming up, in addition to “Snow Crash”, I have a “Monstrous Regiment” by Terry Pratchett (a disk world book) and “A Traveller In Time” by Alison Uttley. I look forward to these two books. I enjoyed “A Thief of Time” by Pratchett. Uttley is a children’s books writer with whom I am unfamiliar, but I got it for $2 and I figure I can always sell it on eBay if it sucks.

Check for inexpensive books on tape. It has mostly Star Trek stuff, but I bought the Pratchett and Uttley books there cheaper than you can get them on ebay. I should have bought Snow Crash there, but I already had a bid on it on eBay.


Buy the Book!

I cleaned up my tab for Sonny Boy's Help Me and made it into a short book. There's a Kindle version for 99 cents, and if you buy the paperback you get the Kindle free.

Playing "Help-Me" In the Style of Sonny Boy Williamson II: A step by step, note for note analysis of some of Sonny Boy's Signature Riffs

I also write Science Fiction, so you can sample some of my best stories. Also available in Kindle format.

Error Message Eyes: A Programmer's Guide to the Digital Soul


Keith Graham's Links

I started reading Science Fiction in the 1950s. I started Writing SF in the 1960s. Then, I had a life. Now I am retired, raising chickens and keeping bees. I am still an avid reader and I have sold about 70 stories in the last 20 years.
I have been collecting information about writing Science Fiction for many years now. Social media has replaced the Blog and large dedicated websites, so the pages here are mostly static. I update them from time to time.


Book Reviews

Please note, the comments on this site are historical from when the site was a Blog. The web pages are now static, and there is no mechanism for leaving comments.